So, we have a snow day here in central Virginia. I wish I could say that our beautiful town is covered with a blanket of white snow and the kids are out building snow men. But, alas, its just icy and crunchy outside. I’m trying hard to get into the holiday spirit, so I’ll be decorating and cooking today. I usually do a food gift for the neighbors and friends in town. In the past I’ve made candied pecans. But, this year I did a cleaned up version of the “nut” gift. The rosemary and chipotle flavors marry so well with the maple syrup. These almonds are so yummy, I had to force myself to stop eating them so I had enough to package up for gifts. I’ll be making a few more clean eating food gifts this week.
First, I infused the olive oil with the rosemary. I simply added the chopped rosemary to the oil which was in a saute pan over medium heat. Then I added all the remaining ingredients to a medium bowl, except the maple syrup. Just before removing the oil from the stove, I added the maple syrup to the nut mixture. I immediately added the infused oil to the nuts and stirred well to coat. Then I spread the nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet and baked them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I stirred them about 3 time while baking to make sure they didn’t stick and also add a little more salt. Once they dried, I stored them in an airtight container until I was ready to put them in a pretty jar or gift bag for a beautiful and delicious holiday gift.
Local Ingredient: I cut the rosemary from my own herb garden. Doesn’t get any more local than that!
Using a small saute pan or skillet add olive oil over low heat. Then add chopped rosemary to olive oil. Increase heat to medium to medium high until the oil just begins to bubble, then promptly turn it back to low. Allow it to sit on the heat for up to 10 minutes. This infuses the rosemary into the olive oil.
While the olive oil and rosemary are on the stove, add the almonds, chipotle pepper spice, and 1/4 of the salt to a medium mixing bowl.
Just before removing the hot oil from the stove, add the maple syrup to the nuts and mix to coat.
Then, promptly add the olive oil mixture and mix to coat the almonds well.
Spread the almonds onto the sheet pan in an even layer and put them in the oven.
Cook for 10 minutes, then remove them add 1/4 salt and stir the almonds to ensure they don’t stick. Place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes, then repeat with another 1/4 salt and stir.
Place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes, then remove them and add the remaining salt and place the almonds in a cool place to dry such as a counter not too close to the oven or stove.
Drying will depend on the humidity and environment in your kitchen. Once they’ve dried store them in an airtight container. Enjoy!
If you like a little more heat, you can add a tiny bit more chipotle. The heat in these is subtle since I wanted the kids to be able to eat them too.